Farewell to Wedocracy

The origin of wedOcracy is that it was built on the story of love. In 2012, Peter Jacobson asked me to marry him and I said yes.

As the owners of a web development company, we felt we had the know-how to build something that would help us plan our own wedding, and bring ease, joy and fun to the wedding planning process for everyone involved.

Over the past 3 years, we’ve done just that. We poured sweat equity into the product and put our web development and design chops into building something that we hoped would change the reality of wedding planning.

We’ve had couples sign up from 5 continents and 12 countries including Iceland, Nigeria, Denmark and Thailand. We’ve received encouraging emails from newlyweds thanking us for building the product and acknowledging just how stressful wedding planning can be.

Despite our best efforts, all of this encouragement was not enough to keep the lights on at wedOcracy HQ.

After 3 solid years of working at it, we’ve shut things down and moved our focus to our web development company.

Since we started with wedOcracy, we’ve run both companies. It was not always easy, but it was necessary to keep Linking Arts going while we also bootstrapped wedOcracy.

Bootsrapping definitely has its benefits. We were able to really focus on the problem we were solving. But after failing to raise the money we needed to grow, we realized that we could not take wedOcracy to the next level on our own.

And so with the close of 2016 we have shut it down. We want to thank every couple, wedding guest, mother-in-law and random uncle who used wedOcracy.

We want to thank our very first couple, who threw an amazing California wedding. They inspired us to keep at it.

We want to thank every investor who heard our pitch and every accelerator who considered us.

This is not quite the post-mortem. This isn’t the post about what we learned. That will come later. For now, this is the post where we update you as to the status of wedOcracy.

Thank you for following us along the way. We so appreciate it. And we still do believe that we built something that helped many couples.

We hope to keep building great products. As web development company founders invested in creating meaningful products, I know we will.

Thanks,
Uchechi Kalu Jacobson
CEO/UX Designer
wedOcracy

How To Write Wedding Vows That Feel Authentic And Unique

How To Write Authentic and Unique Wedding Vows

Planning your wedding can be a logistical challenge, but writing your wedding vows shouldn’t be right? You’re supposed to love your better half, be excited to marry them and have no trouble expressing it in front of your closest friends and family right? Wrong?

Writing your wedding vows can be challenging.

Even as a poet it was for me, for some the following reasons:

While planning our wedding, I wasn’t sure how to begin writing my vows. Yes I’m a writer by profession, but it felt different to craft the perfect words to say to the love of my life for the following reasons:

  1. I wasn’t sure where to start.
  2. I didn’t know which parts of our story I should add and which parts I should leave out?
  3. I was concerned about making our guests sit through the longest wedding ceremony in history, and not being sure if I could fit in everything I wanted to say in under 5 minutes.

How do you capture your relationship during your wedding vows?

I wondered, How do I say everything I love about this person in just a few minutes?

I want to help make writing your vows not just easier, but actually inspiring. As a poet, heartfelt (but non-cheesy) quotes and poems helped me find inspiration. Have you considered using love quotes (the non-cheesy but heartfelt and heartwarming kind your guests will remember forever) to inspire you?

Here’s how I used wedding love quotes to help me write my vows:

Step 1: Find inspiration.Pick a quote from this of quotes that inspire(d) you- if you have or find your own, all the better! Don’t copy them (you want yours to be original), but let the idea inspire you.

Tips For Writing Heartfelt & Real Wedding Vowstressugar.com

Step 2: Be funny. Is there a funny moment that’s a key part of your relationship story? Add it in! For us it was a about finding a balance between the seriousness of our commitment and the silliness of our relationship.

Tips For Writing Heartfelt & Real Wedding Vowsdailyquotesinspiration.com

Step 3: Be real. Don’t be afraid to get serious and real. Did you struggle or not think you were the marrying type? Did you break up, and didn’t think you’d get back together? Say it. The best vows are real!

Tips For Writing Heartfelt & Real Wedding Vows

Step 4: Be vulnerable. Did you think she wouldn’t go for you? Say so. That’s behind you now!

HPLYRIKZ.COM

Step 5: Be unexpected. This couple started their relationship on Facebook, and it’s the opening liner of their vows. Well done by the way!

Tips For Writing Heartfelt & Real Wedding Vowsilovemylsi.com

Step 6: Be yourself. There are really no rules but those you choose. My husband didn’t want anyone’s cell phone interrupting the ceremony, so called the officiant at the beginning of the ceremony (on the altar) to tell him to turn off his cell phone. It was ridiculous but it worked because it defused the cell phone concerns in a quirky way that only he would have thought of. And he came up with it while we were waiting to walk in.

wedvowsquote_lifehackerdotcom

It’s your wedding so do what makes YOU happy, entertained, and moved. The only right choices are the ones that work best for you two.

Now it’s your turn: How is your vow writing going? Any tips for our readers?

15 Practical & Memorable Gifts For Your Destination Wedding Guest Gift Bag

Blog: Practical & Memorable Destination  Wedding Gifts For Your Guests

Gift bags are a great way to show your guests some love and thank them for attending your wedding. From sunglasses to tequila, what you put in your gift bag can vary and show your guests a bit of local culture.

When planning a destination wedding, a gift bag (though not a requirement!) can be an opportunity to give your guests a little something to remember the wedding, the location and the local culture. It’s also a great time to give them the things they might have forgotten (and desperately need) back home.

15 Practical & Memorable Gifts For Your Destination Wedding Guest Gift Bag Click To Tweet

1. Bug spray: Mosquitos can be annoying, but in some parts of the world their bites can also cause memorable illnesses (the bad kind of memorable…). Keep your guests safe with bug spray.

15 Practical and Memorable Wedding Gifts For Your Destination Wedding

Lowcountry Wedding Blog

2. Sunscreen: Who wants to return from a great wedding with a nasty sunburn?

sunscreen_wedgiftbag

My Newest Addiction Blog

3. Local spirits: Most regions in the world have their own special concoctions. For example, when getting married in Mexico, choose a local tequila or mezcal and give out small bottles.

15 Practical and Memorable Wedding Guest Gifts

Ruffled Blog

4. Bottled water: This is a necessary one. If guests are traveling to your destination wedding and you know the water might be unsafe to drink, or if you can expect high altitude/heat/humidity at your destination, give them some of the good stuff so no one gets sick.

15 Practical and Memorable Wedding Guest Gifts

Etsy

5. Sunglasses

15 Practical and Memorable Wedding Guest Gifts

Floridian Social

6. Breath mints or chewing gum: Weddings are great places to meet people, so give them a head start with good smelling breath. Deodorant may be a bit too intimate (though in certain place it might be appreciated!).

10 Thoughtful and Practical & Memorable Gifts For Your Destination Wedding Guest Gift Bag

WhiT

7. Local maps + how to get around: If you’re traveling in a new city, it’s great to have a local map and info about how to get around. Include local bus line recommendations and taxi costs as well as other transportation like bike rentals or walking guides.

10 ThoughtfulPractical & Memorable Gifts For Your Destination Wedding Guest Gift Bag

Creative Roots

8. Welcome letter: Include the wedding day schedule, event locations, and phone numbers of friends/family they should contact for info on the day-of. You’ll be busy and you don’t want to be answering your phone all the time. We also included suggestions for things to do or see when you’re not busy with wedding stuff.

10 ThoughtfulPractical & Memorable Gifts For Your Destination Wedding Guest Gift Bag

Style Me Pretty

9. Safety guide: Every guest wants to have fun at your destination wedding, but they also want to stay safe in a new place. Throw a few tourist guides in there and make sure they include local emergency numbers like police, fire department and EMS. Some common sense guidelines for your area can prove invaluable too (e.g. “it’s fine to walk alone here at night up until 2am,” or “do not leave your wallet in a pocket here,” etc.

emergencycall_wedgiftbag

Outblush

10. Sandals/Flip-Flops: Ah yes, this is a gift many couples love to give. It’s also something your guests may have forgotten. Show their feet some love!

15 Thoughtful and Practical Wedding Gift Bag Ideas For Your Destination Wedding

Rustic Wedding Blog

11. The Gift Bag itself: we printed up our own canvas gift bags. They weren’t expensive and we still use them – they’re a great memento as well as being useful.

15 Practical and Memorable Wedding Gift Bag Ideas For Your Guests

Lana Lou Style

12. Local non-perishable snacks: There are always unfamiliar but delicious, or even downright strange local versions of familiar things. It could be as simple as flavors of chips you’d never find back at home. Or here in New Orleans, Pralines.

localsnack_wedgiftbag

Elizabeth Anne Designs

13. Coupons to local businesses: Small merchants LOVE weddings and tourists. Many will be all too happy to offer a discount to your guests, especially if they know you or one of your local friends/planners. We had some restaurateurs we loved in San Miguel de Allende, and hooked them up where we could with business from our guests. Win for both sides.

Practical and Memorable Wedding Gift Bag Ideas For Your Guests

From Up North

 

14. Hangover Kit: This includes some much needed health items for your guests. Throw in some headache remedies for the post wedding morning + vitamin water (we love Emergen-C packs).

15 Awesome Wedding Gift Bag Ideas For Your Destination Wedding
Etsy

15. Wedding invitation as a souvenir: When planning a destination wedding with family living around the globe, it’s difficult (and expensive) to send out invitations and hope anyone gets them. Skip the stamp licking and add those invitations to the gift bags as a great souvenir.

15 Practical and Memorable Wedding Favors For Your Destination Wedding

Oh So Beautiful Paper

Now it’s your turn: These are some things that worked for us. Every occasion and budget is different. We (and our couples) would love to hear your great stories, thoughts, brilliant ideas that missed the target, whatever. We hope this helps somehow – if so, let us know that too!

How To Plan A Fun And Affordable Bachelorette Party

Planning a wedding can get expensive, but the pre-wedding events can also add up quickly. You don’t have to break the bank to have a memorable hen night party. If you’re part of the wedding party and helping plan an amazing bachelorette bash, we’re sharing tips on how to make it affordable and really fun.

10 Tips For Throwing An Amazing Bachelorette Party on A Budget Click To Tweet

  1. Stay local: Find a nearby town that’s cool, but not the same town you live in. it can be expensive for everyone to get away to Vegas, but affordable to go wine tasting nearby and spend a night in a hotel (or a big house on the lake).
  2. Keep it simple: it doesn’t have to be a three day weekend affair, but can be an overnight trip somewhere.
  3. Bring the bride’s favorite places to her: If your bestie loves the beach, but you can’t get to one for the bachelorette party, bring it to her. Take her to a beach inspired restaurant or have a grown-up pool party.
  4. Pitch in for a gift: Who says the maid of honor has to pay for everything? Talk with the other attendees and see who’s open to pitching in to help make the event really special.
  5. Throw a house party: Get friends together to decorate the house, buy a few bottles of her favorite drink and you’re done. She’ll remember the care you put into it more than how much you spent. Get your Spotify playlist, elect one of the bridesmaids as bartender, bring on the bride-to-be and you’re all set! My friends did just this for me and I’ll never forget what a heartfelt gift it was.
  6. Throw a surprise event: No matter where you go or what you do, there’s nothing as memorable as being surprised by your closest friends right before your wedding. The bride won’t care where she’s going/being taken to and will be inspired by how well you pulled it off. Just remember to respect her wedding planning time.
  7. Throw a potluck: With all the food delivery apps around nowadays there’s no excuse for anybody who has more money than time. And for the rest of us, there’s nothing like home cooking. Alcohol gets expensive, so ask each attendee to bring a bottle of something to share.
  8. Throw a drinks potluck: You provide snacks, ice, bar fixings, and everyone else brings the drinks.
  9. Go to the club: It usually costs less to go out for adult entertainment than to hire for a private party. If that’s your thing, head out after the at-home event. Or just watch Magic Mike XXL… heck, watch it anyway to get warmed up.
  10. Remember to have fun: It’s about spending time with your best girlfriends before your wedding day. Make sure it’s fun and you get to laugh with each other. In the end, that’s what you’ll remember most.

Now it’s your turn: Are you planning a bachelorette party? What money saving tips are you using? We’d love to know and share.

Photo credit: http://www.gnandian.com

8 Same-Sex Wedding Videos That Will Restore Your Faith In Love

We love the month of June for many reasons, but especially because it’s International Gay Pride Month. What we love most about it is the beauty and emotions of seeing same-sex couples finally be able to get married in their respective countries. Weddings are such special events, but what makes them so unique is that they really do show that #loveislove regardless of race, sexual orientation, class and other boundaries. In honor of love, we’re sharing these beautiful same-sex wedding moments.

8 Same Sex Wedding Videos That Will Restore Your Faith in Love Click To Tweet

1. Alanna + Felicity Wedding Day

What we love: The brides mother crying at 1:22 as she savors her last few minutes with her daughter.

2. Violeta + Limor Engagement Proposal

What we love: Flash mob dancing + a proposal. It couldn’t get much better than that.

3. Christina + Stephanie Engagement Proposal

 

What we love: It truly was a surprise! Christina thought it was her birthday. Check out her shocked face at 2:30.

4. Felicia + Mary Wedding Day

What we love: Their “first look” at 0:59.

5. William + Billy Wedding Day

What We Love: Their relationship started with a Facebook message. Check out their vows at 0:12.

6. Robert + Nathaniel Wedding Day

What we love: Check out the ring bearer at 1:22 with a “here come the grooms” sign.

7. Robert + Milton Courthouse Wedding Day

What we love: They got married the day the city of Mobile Alabama lifted its same-sex wedding ban. We love when they come up with on-the-spot wedding vows to say to each other at 1:15.

8. Bernard0 + Juan Carlo Wedding Day

What we love: Everything about this wedding was epic, but we especially love the bilingual (Spanish and English) wedding vows at 1:49.

Do you have a same-sex wedding video to share? We’d love to see it! Engaged and looking for a great website to help you and your guests connect and make wedding planning easier? Let’s connect in the comments.

25 Hip Hop Inspired Father-Daughter Wedding Dance Songs

Happy Father’s Day! If you’re planning a wedding, you’re probably thinking about your father-daughter dance and the song you’ll choose. A lot has changed since our father’s got married, and the father-daughter dance has also evolved. Brides are opting to mix a little of the old schools songs from their dads generation with some modern day beats. The father-daughter dance is a great time to really enjoy the time with your dad, so we’re here to help you pick a great song that’s not awkward, cheesy or too old fashioned for you.
25 Hip Hop Inspired Father-Daughter Dance Songs To Get The Party Started
1. One Two Step by Ciara
2. Paper Planes by MIA
3. Jai Ho  by A.R. Rahmen feat The Pussycat Dolls
4. Imma Be by Black Eyed Peas
5. Let’s Get It Started by Black Eyed Peas
6. On The Floor by Jennifer Lopez
7. Single Ladies by Beyonce
8. Pon de Replay by Rihanna
9. Hey Ya by Outkast
10.Let’s Get Loud by Jennifer Lopez
11. U Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer
12. The Night Is Still Young by Nicki Minaj
13. Time of Our Lives by Pitbull
14. Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani
15. Family Affair by Mary J. Blige
16. So Fresh, So Clean by Outkast
17. Turn Down For What by DJ Snake & Lil Jon
18. Fiesta by Bomba Estereo
19. Beware by Jay Z Remix with Punjabi MC
20.  Yeah! by Usher
21. Good Feeling by Flo Rida
22. Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It–Will Smith
23. Don’t Stop The Party by Pitbull
24. Walk This Way by Run DMC
25. Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO

Need some hip hop dance moves for your father-daughter dance ? Check out one of our favorite father-daughter dances.
Have you chosen your father-daughter song(s) yet? What song will you choose? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

 

Photo credit: Top Wedding Designs

From Loving Day to Sorth Carolina: As a company, we need to say something

Last week, we celebrated Loving Day, a day marked by celebrations of mixed families and couples telling their stories on social media.  We saw festivals around the world celebrating the right for people to marry whomever they want, regardless of skin color. That was a great day!

Today, the killings of members of Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina speak to how far we still have to go when it comes to creating a world of equality and justice.

Today definitely doesn’t feel like Loving Day.

We didn’t have a planned blog post, but spontaneity seemed necessary given the circumstances and what we stand for as a company.

While we are a wedding planning app that makes wedding planning easy, social and fun, we’re also a mixed-race married couple who, until 1967 wouldn’t have been allowed to get married. Even more so, we’re a company with a name inspired by marriage equality and justice.

We originally called our app WeddingRSVP, focusing on making it easy for wedding guests to RSVP to your wedding. But we realized that name wasn’t enough to show how far we still have to go when it comes to creating a world of equality and justice, racial equality in particular.

We wanted a name that spoke to why we were really committing to taking on startup life in an environment where most people in this line of business fail. Had we lost our minds? No, in fact we had found what it was that was driving us to put sleepless nights, heart-attack-inducing bank account statements & unhealthy amounts of coffee on the line. We brainstormed the name over coffee, dinner dates and metro rides, wandering the streets with sketchpads and finding images that resonated with us.

We wanted to not just provide a cool wedding app. We wanted to change the face of how weddings are planned and attended. We also wanted to acknowledge and affirm that everyone should be able get married if they so desire – everyone deserves to enjoy their big day regardless of race, class, language or sexual orientation. We wanted to democratize wedding planning. The led us to the name Wedocracy.

While we have to be open for business today (and every day), that doesn’t mean it has to be (or can be) business as usual for us. It’s not for the people of South Carolina who might feel scared, angry and grief stricken right now. We believe it is not only right but crucial to say that hate is not something we stand for or tolerate in our company and in the world we are hoping to help shape.

We believe that for a just and safe world to exist, we all of us must have the right to exist in our skin without feeling threatened, targeted our harassed.

Today we’ll be on our computers working to give you great tools to plan your wedding. And we’ll also be thinking about those who died so tragically in South Carolina. You both matter and you both deserve to feel that you matter.

7 Tips For Planning Your Father-Daughter Dance Without Your Dad

Weddings are all about family and community. From close friends to your dearest family members, it’s a celebration of the people who love us. When Father’s Day rolls around, it’s often a happy occasion for many people.

I love seeing all the throwback photos of dads, their kids and #mostawesomedad hashtags on social media. There are also brunch pics with dad at your favorite restaurant. I love seeing these pics because it means there are people out there who have amazing relationships with their dads.

Not Everyone Has Cool Dad Pics To Post On Instagram

There are also those who don’t have dads, and this gets most difficult when wedding planning. Who will walk me down the aisle? Who will I dance with during the father/daughter dance? Maybe your dad died or maybe he has never been in your life. Maybe you’ve always wished for that awesome dad pic to post on Instagram, but you’ve never had one.

Until recently, I haven’t had cool dad pics to post for Father’s Day either. My dad by birth has never been there for me and our relationship has never been close. At my wedding, I looked out into the crowd and saw the faces of my god father and my adopted dad. They’re the ones I danced with and the ones who’ve had my back for many years. Instead of feeling sad about my birth dad not being there, I used the opportunity to dance with two amazing fathers.

Planning your father-daughter wedding dance without your dad? You deserve to enjoy it! Click To Tweet

7 Essential Tips For Rocking Your Father-Daughter Dance Without Your Dad

While you may not have your father at your wedding, you do have the love and support of people who love you. Here’s how to rock your father/daughter dance even when dad’s not there.

1. Choose how you want this part of the reception to go:

First, decide if you even want to include a father/daughter dance in your wedding ceremony. While it may be expected, it’s not mandatory. What’s more important is your happiness, so nix it if it doesn’t feel right.

2. Ask the “father(s)” in your life to dance with you:

I have three dads, and two were at my wedding. I have my adopted dad (meaning, as an adult I adopted him), my god father (also my own choice) and my biological father. My biological father was not at my wedding, but I still had the father-daughter dance with my other dads.

How To Enjoy Your Father Daughter Dance Without Your Dad

Photo credit: Amici Wedding Photography

3. Create a unique father/daughter experience:

Feel free to switch up tradition and change things to suit your needs. I had two father-daughter dances. Why? Why not? Both of these men have supported me and are such a great example of the kind of father I always wanted, so I wanted to show love for both of them.

4. Share your feelings with your partner:

There are so many emotions that come up during wedding planning, especially around family. Although your soon-to-be-spouse might already know your family concerns at this point, it helps to take the time to talk about the specific events of your wedding and how your family will or will not be involved. It will really help you find support during those difficult feelings.

5. Get creative and brainstorm with your partner:

You don’t have to go at it alone. After sharing your feelings with your partner, take the time to brainstorm creative ways you can still have these important events like the father-daughter dance, but on your own terms.

Wedding planning w/o your dad is hard, but it's an opportunity to find creative ways to enjoy your special day! Click To Tweet

6. Ask the important men in your life to dance with you:

I was lucky to have a few options for dads, but I know this isn’t the reality for everyone. If you want to enjoy this dance but your father won’t be there, take some time to think about who you would ask to enjoy this time with you. Your favorite uncle? Your step dad? Your brother? Your auntie?

7. Tell your wedding vendors what’s happening:

It’s important to share your father story with your wedding vendors, especially your wedding planner. It’s helpful for them to know that talking about your father might be difficult for you, but it also helps to fill them in so they can help you creatively plan this part of your wedding.

8. Dance with your family and friends and play a song your dad would have loved:

There’s nothing like gathering your community around you and having them celebrate your dad with you.

Conclusion:

Wedding planning can be challenging, and it gets even more difficult around Father’s Day, especially for those whose fathers will not be attending their wedding. On the other side of this challenge is an amazing opportunity to redefine traditional wedding moments like the father-daughter dance, and think about how you want to plan the event.

Are you planning a wedding without your dad? If so, how’s it going? We’d love to know. Share your stories in the comments!

Photo credits:  Conrad Lim Photography

 

Wedding Guest Tips: How To Show Your Guests Some Love

Weddings are about celebrating the engaged couple, but they’re also about our communities and making the most of the wedding weekend we have with some of our best friends and closest family members. Sometimes guests travel from around the world to celebrate your special day, and they want to have a great time and make the most of the few days they’ll spend with you.

Most couples want their guests to say that their wedding was The Best Ever. Yep, it’s true, and your guests won’t just say that if they don’t have a good – no, a great – time. Sound like a lot of pressure? It can be.

Here are a few tips for how you can maintain your sanity, throw a fabulous event and hear those three precious words from your friends and family after all is said and done.

1. It’s about you, but it’s also about them

The wedding is about you, but also remember that you’ve asked your closest friends and family to come celebrate you, so it’s also about them. When planning your wedding, try to think about the needs of your guests. The truth is, if they have a great time you most likely will too. Guests bring the party, and they’re there to celebrate you.

Your wedding is about you, but it's also about your guests! Click To Tweet

2. Make it easy for guests to RSVP:

We created wedOcracy with our guests in mind, and in doing so we learned something obvious yet perhaps less heeded than it should be: your guests can’t wait to come, but they don’t want you to waste their time. When you don’t make things clear on the invitation (where to RSVP, who to call with questions, directions to the venue, etc) then the people you say you love and can’t wait to celebrate with end up confused and stressed. This does not have to be the way things go.

Make it easy for your wedding guests to RSVP, and they will come! Click To Tweet

3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate:

A few months after our wedding, we attended a cousin’s wedding (not the same one!) about 1000 miles and a national border away from our home. Let’s just say that although we were fairly certain we were part of the wedding party, as of the night of the Rehearsal Dinner we didn’t know which events we were invited to – or if there would even BE a rehearsal dinner. We did get the invitation to the ceremony and reception, but what about times and places for other events? We spoke to her a few hours before the dinner and confirmed we were invited. Unfortunately, by that time, it was too late for us to make it. Not knowing when and where meant we didn’t get there on time, and went out for a late-night pizza instead. We also missed the Sunday Brunch for similar reasons. You don’t want this to be you, now do you?

Make the important information easily accessible to the people who need it, in a timely fashion, and save yourselves a lot of pain.

4. Be visible:

On the wedding day, it’s important to remember how far some of your guests have traveled. No matter how fabulous your wedding destination is, they didn’t come all this way just to hit the town and take in the sights. They’re there because of you, so remember to try and see them during the busy day.

It’s a no-brainer but it needs to be said: Take the time to go around to the different tables during the reception and thank people for coming. Make sure you give yourselves the time to give old friends you haven’t seen since college great big hugs and sit with them and reminisce about how different you all were in college. You are super important on this day, but presumably, so are they to you! Even a few stolen moments will always be there for you to remember.

5. Have Fun and Be Fun:

The point of this post is to help you find ways to make your wedding The Best Ever. But your guests won’t say that because of how much you spent on the chocolate flamingo fountain centerpieces or the cost of your dress. The truth is, the best weddings are a joy to attend and stay on our minds (and in our conversations) for years to come because of how we felt being there. If you want your guests to enjoy yours, treat ’em right and they’ll talk for years. And if you don’t want to treat ’em right, you might end up being on a future list of top 10 wedding guest complaints. The choice is yours!

Conclusion: Planning a wedding can be stressful, and factoring in your guests can be even more challenging. The truth is, they’re the key to making your event fun. They bring the party, and are there to celebrate you. When planning your wedding, thinking about them actually can help you plan an unforgettable wedding. We hope this is helpful to you. It worked for us and if it helps one of you to have a more memorable day – or avoid a day you’d rather forget – then we’re happy. And as always we look forward to your thoughts, opinions and stories in response!

Planning a wedding and have questions about how to factor in the needs of your guests while still being true to yourself? We’d love to hear from you! Hit us up in the comments!

 

 

Photo credit: Amici Wedding Photography

Tech Is The New Wedding Budget Planner: 10 Tech Hacks To Help You Save On Wedding Planning

For many newly engaged couples, the thought of planning a wedding can be downright stressful, especially when it comes to managing and staying on point with your wedding budget. 60% of couples say that sticking to their wedding budget is very important to them. We want to help you make the most of your wedding planning funds, so today we’re sharing ways you can use technology to make wedding planning easier and more budget-friendly.

1. Book Your Wedding Venue Using Airbnb

We all know Airbnb as the site that lets you find a place to stay in someone’s home instead of booking a hotel. There are all kinds of venues on Airbnb, and some of the homes are big enough for part or all of your wedding. Just make a list of what’s important to you (must haves) in a venue, and start searching. Prices are often cheaper than traditional wedding venues.

2. Get Your Wedding Guests Involved

While you’re planning the details of your big day, your guests are planning the details of how to attend your big day. They need to book flights, RSVP, find a place to stay and make it to your wedding from who knows where. Make it easy for them to do all of this, and it will save you tons of money (hint hint, we just had to let you know that wedOcracy helps you get your guests on board).

3. STOP Sending Paper Save The Dates

We know they’re really pretty, but have you ever added up the cost of printing them and mailing them? Don’t forget to add something like 100+ stamps and envelopes! If you can bear to part with the idea of sending out paper invitations, ditch the stamp-licking duty and send out online invitations. You’ll get your RSVPs back quicker and not have to chase people down threatening to disinvite them. If you still insist on printing invitations, check out our wedding tips below for more ways tech can help you save money.

4. Communicate Online

It’s 2015, and there are so many online tools out there to make wedding planning easier. One of the benefits of social wedding planning is keeping all communication online. You’ll no longer need to track down your binder or notebook and worry when you lose that important piece of paper with all your vendor information.

Using #tech for #weddingplanning helps you maximize your wedding budget! Click To Tweet

5. Connect Your Guests To Each Other

Paper RSVPs are pretty, but they don’t connect your guests to each other. Not everyone has a hired wedding planner, but sometimes your friends and family are your planners, or at least your helpers. If you don’t have the money for a traditional planner (or just don’t want one), connect your guests with each other and make it easier to assign tasks to them, ease communication between friends and family and make collaboration easy and simple.

6. Google Search Is Your Friend

During your wedding, google your heart out. From unique wedding venues to the best wedding planning websites and apps, Google is your close friend during wedding planning. There are a bajillion wedding product search engines, and even an AirBnB for wedding venues.

7. Buy A Recycled Wedding Dress

This isn’t for everyone, but if it’s something to consider especially if you want to have a eco-friendly wedding. Reused wedding dresses are more than 50% cheaper than new dresses, and you’ll be helping out the planet too.

8. Find Wedding Planning Inspiration on Pinterest

We love Pinterest. Just pin, share and plan! Enough said – we know you already know about it.

9. Keep Everyone in the Loop

Use social wedding planning tools like messaging, blogging and email notifications. This helps keep everyone informed and saves you the trouble (and postage) with those RSVPs. Using this together with tip #5 will insure that nobody is in the dark about who’s in the wedding party, where they need to be, and when they need to be there.

10. Book a First Time Wedding Venue

Google unique and interesting places that may not be thought of as wedding venues. A small park? A city courtyard that you always walk by and wonder what it’s used for. Take a stab at it and go for the unique. These venues are usually more budget friendly.

If they bite, they’ll be willing to do what they can to make things work for you. They will want to become known as a wedding venue and you’ll help put them on the map. It’s win-win.

Conclusion: Using technology to help you plan your wedding not only streamlines the process, it also helps you save on your wedding. From finding (and booking) unique wedding venues to connecting your guests online, there’s almost nothing you can’t do from your desktop computer or mobile device. We hope this helps. We pretty much did all of the above for our own wedding and it was a breeze (yes, strange but true). Questions about any of these? Leave a comment or hit us up on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

 

5 Tips For Planning A Unique Wedding

Weddings  are a great opportunity to showcase your personality. The event brings together all our favorite people from different times in our lives: Our best childhood friend, our college friends, a few cousins in there and then people from our current professional lives.

60% of engaged couples say they want their wedding to reflect them.

You want your guests to know who you are, and understand what’s important to you. You also want your wedding to be unique.

And we want to give you tips for making your wedding unforgettable:

1. Own your cultural differences and incorporate them

We had a Nigerian-American-Jewish destination in Mexico. We know that not everyone will have this mix, but we all bring different traditions to our weddings that make them unique. If you have cultural traditions you want to incorporate, figure out the ones that are important to you and your family, and incorporate them in interesting ways. Maybe you’re having an Irish/Jewish wedding or a New Orleans meets Boston wedding.

Tip: Those differences are part of what makes your wedding special, so celebrate them in ways that have meaning for you.

2. Own your local traditions

In New Orleans, weddings come with second line parades. Couples and guests march down the street with a full band, all in celebration of their big day. Even if you were not raised here, it’s a festive and cool tradition to take on. Find out what the local traditions are and incorporate them. During colonial Mexican weddings, couples from around the world will incorporate a tequila donkey because it’s part of the local culture and makes their wedding even more unique.

Tip: Local traditions allow your guests to understand the culture of the place where you’re getting married, while also allowing you to make your wedding memorable.

3. Own your your creative passions

We all love to bring a little something creative into our lives, so why not do the same for your wedding? Do you love poetry? Art? Film? There are so many unique ways to bring these ideas into your wedding. Consider incorporating poetry into your ceremony, or have film inspired table settings.

Tip: [Tweet “Your wedding day is all about showcasing your personality. “]

4. Own your family

Ah, family! We all have one and we don’t always agree on everything. Weddings bring up a lot of challenging family issues, and the joke about the drunk uncle is often a reality. You can’t change your family, but you can make sure you enjoy your wedding day regardless. Is your mom always saying crazy things when she’s drunk? Own it! The people who know and love you probably already know your parents and how they behave, and letting it get you down will only add to your misery on such an important day. Don’t let that happen!Owning who they are without sacrificing what’s important to you will make your wedding unique because you will remember the important things instead of focusing on the things that bother you about them.

Tip: Accept who they are, stand up for yourself and find ways to enjoy the day with (or without them) there.

5. Own your friends

The average American will spend about $160 to travel to weddings this year. That’s no small change. Your guests are there because they want to celebrate you on such an important day. These are the folks who’ve been there for all the other meaningful moments, so they wouldn’t dream of not showing up for your wedding. So, why not include them in your planning and the day itself. Bring guests into the mix by collaborating with them on cool wedding ideas and find inspiration by communicating with them about what they did for their wedding. Not sure which song to pick for your first dance? Send a message to your guests and let them help you decide. Need some help organizing your rehearsal dinner? Loop them in for some collaborative wedding planning fun?

Tip: Your guests have known you for such a long time, so they’re a great resource to help you!

Conclusion: Weddings are emotional, fun-filled events that let us show our personality and be unique. The best way to do this is to figure out which traditions you want to incorporate and add them to your big day in interesting ways. You’ve got to “own” all of who you are, and let that be part of what makes you unique. It’s not always easy to own your family quirks and flaws, but it’s the best way to make sure your big day is full of laughter and great memories.

 

Now it’s your turn:

How are you planning a unique wedding? We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

4 Reasons You Should Stop Using Your Wedding Binder

We recently went out to dinner and started chatting with our waitress. She had an engagement ring on, and was super excited to tell me how things were going with her wedding planning.

When I asked her what tools she was using to plan, she got quiet for a minute, averted my eyes and whispered “I’m using my binder.” Her shyness in admitting this may have been because after having built a social network to plan weddings, we might seem like the wedding binder police.

The truth is, we’re far from that. We actually just want to see more people have fun and enjoy their first major life event as a married couple.

Wedding binders aren’t really the thing that needs to go (although we’d like to see them tossed with this week’s garbage). What really needs a facelift is how we plan our weddings in the 21st century. Many of the available tools are outdated, and only add to our stress.

#Weddingplanning needs a facelift, so stop using your wedding binder!

Here’s how outdated tools add to your stress:

  1. Nothing is relational, or can reference anything else automatically.
  2. Nothing is simple and easy. Sending emails to all your guests, then trying to follow up with them as your inbox gets more and more cluttered does not sound easy or fun. Everything should be in one place and guests should RSVP with a simple click of a button. Make it easy for them, and they will RSVP
  3. Nothing is fun!When was the last time your heard your friends say planning their wedding was fun. NEVER–Right? It doesn’t have to be that way. Throwing a fun wedding should start with planning the wedding.
  4. Nothing is collaborative. When you’ve got friends who want to help, make it easy for them. Maybe you want someone to pick something up for you, or help you plan your bachelorette party. You can’t exactly give them your binder and say “let’s do this together.” Unless you want to fax it to them… (cough)

Now it’s your turn: What tools are you using to plan your wedding? Come on, it’s time to fess up. To all the “wedding binder” addicts, we might be able to help you recover.

How To Enjoy Wedding Planning With Your Mom

(Whether she’s your bio-mom or not.)

Mother’s day has come and gone, and now you’ve got to get back to wedding planning. You probably showed your mom all kinds of love on her special day, but now it’s time to focus on planning your special day. Wedding planning can be stressful, and it gets even more difficult when we involve family to help us out.

There’s no place this shows more than your wedding day. Planning your wedding with your mom can be engaging, challenging, maddening and downright fun. We had fun doing it, and we want you to enjoy this time, and let nothing stand in your way.

1. Have the difficult conversations early on

Weddings are a happy time, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have challenging conversations. Yes, wedding planning brings up the past and now might be a good time to talk about things. Weddings are a happy time, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have challenging conversations. Yes, wedding planning brings up the past and now might be a good time to talk about things.

Want to enjoy #weddingplanning with your mom? Have the difficult conversations early on! Click To Tweet

2. Be clear about what you do want help with

Moms want to help. That’s their job! Let your mom know what you want her to help you with, and what you’ve got covered. As the wedding date gets closer, be open to reevaluating this list and asking for additional help if you need it.

Note to Moms: This may sound harsh, but your child’s wedding is your child’s wedding (not yours!) and they may or may not want you to help.

3. Talk about the family traditions you want to keep, and those you want to let go

Did your great grandmother wear her mother’s dress? Did your mother wear her mother’s jewels? Family traditions are great, but when it comes to your wedding it’s important to know which traditions you want to hang onto and the ones you don’t want to include. This can be hard for mothers, so have that conversation and be open to compromise. If you think Gran’s dress is ugly or just not your taste, you don’t have to wear it.

4. Sort out the money

Today, 60% couples contribute to their own wedding costs, so why not talk to your folks and see where you’re all at. If you’re struggling financially, be honest and see how you can all contribute without going broke.

5. Ask her about her own wedding

Mothers often want to live and relive their dreams through their children. That’s great some of the time, but when it comes to your wedding you want it to be your event and no one else’s. If you feel your mom is trying to plan her dream wedding instead of yours (this happened to us – despite the fact that mom had already planned sister’s wedding 10 years before), have a talk with her about what she did for her wedding so you can understand where she’s coming from. There might be something going on there that you ought to know about.

6. Listen to advice, but do your own thing

We all love to feel listened to, and mothers of the bride are no different. Show your mother that you hear her by listening to her and really considering her advice. In the end, it’s your wedding so it’s important that it represents you. Don’t roll your eyes, but listen and you’ll see just how much she appreciates it. OK roll your eyes if you have to, but think about her suggestions anyway.

7. Don’t do anything out of guilt

Weddings definitely bring out emotions, and guilt-related issues can be particularly tricky to manage. Does your mother want you to wear her dress? Do you feel guilty so you can’t say no? Saying “no” will help keep your relationship intact during wedding planning and afterwards. We know you love your mom, but it’s your big day!

8. Spend time with your mother

You’re about to begin a whole new chapter of your life, and your mom knows that. Take some time to spend with her while planning your wedding. Go dress shopping together. Have a girls night out and talk about how things are going. Including your mother now will remind her that although you’ll soon have your own family, she’ll always be a part of your life.

From online RSVPs to that well-designed wedding website and a social network connecting all guests, wedOcracy lets couples collaborate with friends and family to plan an awesome wedding. Sign up for wedocracy and make wedding planning with your family fun and social!

How’s wedding planning going for you and your mom? What other things should mother-in-laws do or not do during wedding planning? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Santa, Mexican Beer and Why We Believe in wedOcracy!

Waking up on Christmas Day

This morning I woke up eager to see if Santa had indeed enjoyed my cookies and milk, which I thought I had carefully set out for him and his posse. The truth is, as I quietly crept up the stairs towards our Christmas tree, I was shocked by what I saw. Right there, next to the tree, it was obvious that Santa had enjoyed the treats left for him. But, it was also obvious that I had not made cookies or left milk for him. Last night, I actually fell fast asleep before my husband did.

Someone remembered to leave cookies and beer for Santa

As founders of a budding startup, we’ve been working ridiculously long hours to make sure our website will be up and running today as a gift to our new users. After a day of testing bugs on the site, I was exhausted. As I nodded off to sleep, I kept thinking “Who will leave the cookies for Santa this year?” So imagine the shock (and delight) I felt in the morning when right next to the tree I spied a plate with cookie crumbs, and two empty bottles of Noche Buena Mexican beer. I stood there with my hand over my mouth and tears running down my face because in that moment I loved my husband even more. He had remembered to put out the snacks for Santa, and he had also told me the night before that maybe this year Santa would want a beer or two instead of milk. I couldn’t disagree!

Growing up, Christmas wasn’t much fun

You might wonder why Santa is so important in our household, especially considering that we have no children (yet!). Who says only kids get to claim Santa? In our home, there are no children to bake cookies with on Christmas Eve, who will wake on Christmas day eager to see if Santa licked the plate clean. But we keep our childhood sense of wonder anyway. We do this especially because for the first time in my life, I am talking about Santa and really getting to be a kid, without any limitations or fear around it. Let me explain.

Growing up, Christmas wasn’t much fun. My mom sometimes made it fun, but my dad was mean most of the time, so us kids didn’t want to spend the holidays with him. We moved a lot, and each time our plastic tree moved with us. After a while, it lost its branches and looked like a mouth with missing teeth. And, there was definitely no talk of Santa. There were no cookies to bake and no glasses of milk to fill. During college, I spent Christmas with friends because my parents house continued to be a place of little or no joy for me, so the idea of a Big Ol’ Family Christmas was just a made-for-television movie that I watched during the holidays. It was never something real.

What’s wedding planning got to do with the holidays?

When my husband first heard this, he insisted I make my first ever Christmas list. That was last year, and I so enjoyed writing a letter to Santa for the first time ever. This year, as I stared at the tipped over beer bottles and crumb filled plate, I realized that although I am happy that Santa enjoyed the treats, I was actually crying because this one gesture by my husband has given me the childhood I didn’t have. I keep asking myself why we’re working so hard to create a wedding planning platform that gives couples the online tools to plan and enjoy their wedding.

We believe in enjoying your wedding because we believe in the power of creating family

This morning, amidst our light filled tree and all the presents, I finally realized why. I’m doing this because I truly believe people should have the opportunity to enjoy one of the first major events they will create together as a new family. In the end, I am doing this because of family and the power it has to heal, protect, nourish, support, etc. For me, family has never been about gender, age, sexuality, family history or any other factors that make us (or others) believe we need to possess in order to create one.

Family has always been about choosing to bound your life up with someone else’s and create the world you wish to live in. It’s about being able to move forward despite your family history because you have another community of people waiting for you, just as you are. We’re doing this because weddings, like family, should bring joy to peoples lives, instead of fear or stress. Many couples don’t enjoy their weddings, and we want to change that. Happy Holidays to everyone and thank you for taking this journey with us.

10 Killer Last Minute Gifts For Tech Lovers

At wedOcracy, we believe in using technology to make life more streamlined, stress-free and fun. And we know the holidays can get pretty stressful. With all the gift buying involved, we thought we’d help you stress less by giving you really cool gift ideas that you can purchase last minute and online. Here’s to the productivity-obsessed techie in your life!Note: we use or have used all of these products, but are otherwise not connected with them in any way – they do not sponsor us or this article.

1. Draft

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Draft is the essential writing tool for anyone who’s serious about writing and collaboration. Writers can create a draft, share with collaborators and keep a version of their original draft. It makes collaborative writing easy and stress-free. If you need to edit documents with others and you haven’t used Draft, you’re in for a treat.

$39.99/year

Get it!

2. Spotify Premium

Dj hands on equipment deck and mixer with vinyl record at party

We can’t work (or live) without great music, but we could do without those Spotify commercials between songs. For what, $10/month?, upgrade the nerd in your life to Spotify Premium so they can rock their life with great tunes and no disruption. From now until December 31st, Spotify is offering 3 months of Premium for on $.99. What’s there to think about?

$0.99

Get it!

3. BaseCamp

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This is our go-to project management tool for client work, and has been for around 10 years now. It’s intuitive, well thought-out, and doesn’t overdo the complexity yet delivers the features to help keep almost any project on track. Give the gift of a Basecamp starter account, which lets anyone create an account with up to 10 projects to start.

$25/month

Get it!

4. Omm Writer

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The creative writer needs quiet, meditative moments and time to write. Omm Writer brings all three together. Just begin and the app plays soothing music (or not) that makes anyone feel creative and inspired. Plus it’s made in Barcelona, which we love, so that’s a plus.

$4.11

Get it!

5. General Assembly (Front Row)

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From UX Design courses to Social Media 101, GA is an online university for the OG techie and the tech newbie in your life. Want to know how to take your newbie skills to the next level? A GA Front row subscription shows you how. Learn how to go from being a Junior UX Designer to a pro, or start learning HTML and keep on it to reach whatever level you need.

$49.00 month

Get it!

6. Amazon Prime

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If you’re constantly ordering products online and you need it shipped to you stat, this is the way to go. The perks include access to free movies, a book download a month and most importantly, free two day shipping.

$99.00/year
$49.00/year for students

Get it!

7. Slack

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While Basecamp is our go-to for managing client projects and our own work, Slack is our go-to for managing communication within our team. It’s a solid, affordable messaging platform that keeps it simple and does what you need well: Chat and share files in your everyday work life. Slack’s got your back!

$0-$6.67

Get it!

8. Stress-free wedding planning with wedOcracy

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We had to add a wedOcracy subscription to this list. Why? Because this list is about great gift ideas to inspire the techie in you to be more productive in your work. Until now, wedding planning has been a lot of work, but doesn’t have to be. With our collaborative social network, we make it fun, stress-free and simple. Want your guests to pitch in and help you? We’ve got you! Want everyone to be able to see who else is coming and connect before the wedding? Check!

$30.00/month

Get it!

9. The Lean Startup (Kindle Version) by Eric Reis

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If your starting up and don’t know where to start, read this book. If you are paralyzed by the fear of failure, read this book. Eric Reis breaks down what 21st century tech entrepreneurs need to know and do stat: Fail, pivot and keep going. The Lean Startup is a must read for how to get your startup closer to any kind of success.

Kindle version: $10.99

Get it!

10. Good Coffee

bigstock-Cafe-city-lifestyle-woman-on-p-48848609

Yes, this is on our list. Go to this person’s favorite coffee shop and purchase a gift certificate. Don’t be shy (if you’re getting something for a “coffee person”). But do yourselves both a favor – support your neighborhood and patronize a local coffee joint, not a chain.


Need a great last minute online gift for the #tech lover in your life? Check out this gift guide!

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What productivity tools made it to your gift list this year? Let us know in the comments!